Upton anti-fracking demo to go ahead, despite eviction

Bailiffs arrive

An anti-fracking meeting at IGas’ Duttons Lane site near Chester is going ahead this weekend, despite the eviction of the protest camp.

The event, described as Solidarity Saturday, is still scheduled for 16th January 2016. Details Campaigners against fracking from several parts of the UK are expected in.

On Tuesday (12th January 2016), bailiffs supported by police from Cheshire, Merseyside and North Wales cleared people from the site  in an operation lasting about nine hours. DrillOrDrop report

IGas, which wants to drill an exploratory coal bed methane well at Duttons Lane, was granted a possession order by the High Court in November 2015.

Cheshire Police confirmed that nine campaigners had been arrested and charged after the eviction, mostly with obstructing police or enforcement officers. Most are expected to appear in court next month (February 2016).

The arrested campaigners included the local Labour councillor, Matt Bryan, who represents Upton ward on Cheshire West and Chester Council. He was arrested after he climbed on top of a cherry picker about to be used by bailiffs. He said he was acting to prevent possible danger to life. He told The Guardian:

“It’s a miracle nobody was killed. As soon as the police advised me that the appropriate measures had been taken, I removed myself and climbed down from the loader, at which point they arrested me for obstructing a police officer.”

He told The Cheshire Chronicle he intends to plead not guilty. The paper said as a ward councillor he had held meetings with the police in the run-up to the eviction. He said police had not kept to an agreement to maintain public access along Duttons Lane unless there was a public safety issue. In closing the road, he says police forced local protesters to hold a demonstration along the busy A41.

Details of charges

Stephen Allen, of no fixed address, charged with aggravated trespass and resisting an enforcement officer

Matthew Bryan, Chester, charged with obstructing/resisting a constable in the execution of their duty

Richard Burcumshaw, from Bolton, charged with assaulting a constable in the execution of his/her duty and section 5 public order

Isabell Bish, of Hampshire, charged with resist/obstruct an enforcement officer

Richard Cairnes, of no fixed abode, charged with failing to comply with a section 35 direction excluding a person from an area;

Lanner Davis, of no fixed abode, charged with resist/obstruct an enforcement officer

John Hall, of no fixed abode, charged with obstruct/resist a constable in the execution of their duty

Louise Hammond, from Scunthorpe, charged with resist/obstruct an enforcement officer

Jamie Watson, from Ayr, charged with resist/obstruct an enforcement officer

14 replies »

  1. Looks like 90% of those arrested are not local and no doubt serial protesters. If they are claiming benefits perhaps it is time to consider withdrawing them? It cost a lot of public money to Police this.

    • Interesting comment Paul, are you saying non local people have no business or legitimate right to be in the area…like those from all over the globe investing in fracking there?

    • Paul 4 out of the 9 have no fixed address so you can’t say where they come from – on what are you basing your supposition that 90% are “not local” or that they are “serial protestors” – I’m afraid this is typical of the misleading (and rather crass) assumptions made by some industry supporters. You MAY of course be right but you have no evidence to support your claim from this article do you? Can you back those accusations up with evidence from elsewhere or are you just being a bit ranty?

  2. I’m sure that black people all over America appreciated the efforts of the civil rights activists who gave weight and support to their struggle. If one person is suffering a pain, injustice or imposition it doesn’t really matter where their support comes from as long as it is like minded and well intended. Surely the fact that this is a global issue supported by those outside the local area gives it more validity not less. This is an issue being experienced by all sorts of people in all sorts of places. A realistic debate about the possible consequences and useful alternatives is well overdue.

  3. Of course everyone will object if it is an inconvenience or out of their political interests or ideology. That’s why we have the court and government to decide what is the best for the interest of the whole country in comparison to a self-interest of a small group of protesters

    • Or of course if one were cynical ” The self-interest of a small group of politicians and their cronies in the fracking industry”.

      The courts are not there to decide what is in the national interest. They are there to ensure that the law is interpreted correctly. In theory at least.

      As to this government – I’m afraid they’ve persuaded me over the last 6 years that they are not to be trusted with the national interest, and their support of fracking and attacks on renewables are just two of the worst examples of why that is.

  4. When the last leaf has fallen, The last tree has died and the last fish been caught…. Will we realise you can eat money.

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